New Delhi: India seems to be taking the digital route to ensure ‘Health for all’ – everyone, everywhere attaining the highest level of health and well-being. From promoting telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic and offering a free telemedicine service called eSanjeevani to introducing Co-Win, a digital platform to keep records of Covid vaccination, the Government of India has been using technology in various ways. In 2021, the centre also launched Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission which aims to bring all stakeholders related to health – patients, healthcare workers, paramedics, hospitals, clinics, labs and pharmacies – on a single platform, making healthcare accessible and affordable. NDTV’s Ambika Singh Kahma speaks to Amitabh Kant, G20 Sherpa and Former CEO of NITI Aayog on India’s digital push to make healthcare accessible to all.
5 Things Amitabh Kant Said On How India Is Syncing ‘Digital’ And ‘Health’:
- Talking about the three new innovations that have the potential to change the way healthcare is delivered across India, Mr Kant said, “Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY) is very important because we are providing insurance to 500 million Indians, which is almost the population of entire Europe and the USA put together. A vast number of people go below the poverty line without insurance. So, that’s a big game changer.”
- Mr Kant lauded the government’s enhanced focus on primary healthcare and said, “The primary healthcare centers that is wellness centers are being created in India. And with wellness center, we are linking both allopathic and yoga, health, meditation and preventive care. If you are able to provide preventive healthcare at the beginning, then you are building up a very healthy nation, thereby reducing the expenditure on tertiary care.”
- Earlier this year in March, while addressing the ‘One World TB Summit’ on World TB Day, PM Modi said the country is working to eliminate Tuberculosis by 2025 as against the global target of 2030. Mr Kant believes the push for the elimination of Tuberculosis in India is crucial. “To my mind, that’s a very important target and in all these areas, we have used technology to move ahead.”
- India is leading the G20 presidency with the principle of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ which is in line with the country’s ethos of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the world is one family). ‘Health for all’ is in focus for India and it is being discussed at G20 working group meetings. Mr Kant said, “We are talking about digital health. We are talking about health and climate and how diseases emerge from animals and jump onto humans, impacting the planet and climate. Therefore, the Prime Minister has given us the concept of ‘One Health’, which is what we are working on.” He added that health will be imperative for India during the G20 presidency. It will play a critical role.
- India has been pushing for digital healthcare to transform the healthcare ecosystem. But can it fill the many gaps like the shortage of doctors and a faster diagnosis? Mr Kant called the government’s Ayushman Bharat scheme “the most ambitious scheme for providing health insurance.” Further talking about digital health, he said, “We will build up a mechanism where everybody will be connected digitally and there will be a digital identity for everyone. So, every time you go to a hospital, or you go to a clinic, you will be able to digitally track all your records of the past that will be a game changer and India will be the first country in the world to be able to do this. This will be a major, major driver of change in India.”
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.